Etymology: Middle English scannen, from Late Latin scandere, from Latin, to climb; akin to Middle Irish sceinnid he springs, Sanskrit skandati he leaps
Date: 14th century
1. to read or mark so as to show metrical structure <scan poetry> 2. to examine by point-by-point observation or checking: a. to investigate thoroughly by checking point by point and often repeatedly <a fire lookout scanning the hills with binoculars> b. to glance from point to point of often hastily, casually, or in search of a particular item <scan the want ads looking for a job> 3. a. to examine systematically (as by passing a beam of radiation over or through) in order to obtain data especially for display or storage <scanned the patient's heart> <radar scans the horizon> <scan the photos into the computer> b. to pass over in the formation of an image <the electron beam scans the picture tube> intransitive verb 1. to scan verse 2. to conform to a metrical pattern <this poem scans well> Synonyms: see scrutinize • scannable adjective II. noun Date: 1706 1. the act or process of scanning 2. a radar or television trace 3. an image formed by scanning something: as a. a depiction (as a photograph) of the distribution of a radioactive material in something (as a bodily organ) b. an image of a bodily part produced (as by computer) by combining ultrasonic or radiographic data obtained from several angles or sections
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.